McJunkin sentenced to 174 years

Staff photo by Philip Wright

McJUNKIN watches as his wife enters the courtroom Thursday morning prior to his sentencing for a 2002 rape.

McJunkin was found guilty in September on all charges filed by the state: sexual assault, attempted sexual assault, robbery, kidnapping and burglary. He faced a maximum of 209 years in prison if all sentences were to run consecutively.

Yavapai County Superior Court Judge David Mackey sentenced McJunkin to a total of 194 years in the Arizona corrections system, but 20 years for burglary will run concurrently. The remaining sentences, totaling 174 years, will all run consecutively. McJunkin would have to live to be 206 years old before being released.

Mackey handed down McJunkin's sentences, which he based on aggravating circumstances. State law allows harsher mandatory sentences for defendants with two or more prior felony convictions within 10 years of the current crime. McJunkin had 15 prior felony convictions, according to his own attorney.

Before his sentence was handed down, McJunkin's defense attorney Elizabeth Flynn asked the judge to run the sentences concurrently. She said that would amount to 47 and a half years.

Flynn argued that all of the charges came from the same act. She also disagreed with prosecuting attorney Sheila Polk's statement of aggravating factors. Flynn said McJunkin's crimes were not "exceptionally cruel and depraved." She said McJunkin maintains his innocence, and that his family informed her after the trial that he has a history of mental illness.

"I did not do this crime," McJunkin told Mackey. "I'm at your mercy."

Polk asked Mackey to give McJunkin the maximum 209 years allowed by law.

"The facts of this case warrant the court giving that length of time," Polk said. She described McJunkin's crimes as "violent and heinous."

Polk said that the victim in this case had shown courage and was feisty when she was asked to identify her assailant in court. "But under that feisty exterior is a very vulnerable woman," Polk said. "She needs to know that as long as she is alive he will never be out of prison."

Polk also asked for financial restitution from McJunkin to the victim for her medical expenses and for future counseling therapy up to three years.

The victim told Mackey that "Whatever he has to do is just.

"If he hurts someone, he has to take responsibility," the victim said.

Mackey found that the mitigating factors in McJunkin's favor were that he was raised for a time by a drug-addicted mother and was sexually abused as a child. But those factors did not outweigh the aggravating factors in the judge's mind.

Prior felony convictions were a large part of what the judge considered as aggravating factors. But the nature of the crimes committed by McJunkin were also considered by Mackey to be aggravating factors.

Mackey said that McJunkin caused "substantial emotional harm to the victim."

On the first count of sexual assault, Mackey sentenced McJunkin to 20 years in prison, with credit for 323 days already served while in custody. For attempted sexual assault, the judge added a consecutive sentence of 20 years.

On three additional counts of sexual assault, Mackey sentenced McJunkin to 28 years for each, all to run consecutively. Mackey said McJunkin's acts amounted to brutality. Those acts included forcing the victim into oral sex, choking her and assaulting her with a hairbrush.

For the conviction of kidnapping, Mackey added 35 years, also to run consecutively. The charge of robbery gained McJunkin another 15 years because Mackey determined that was a "separate and gratuitous crime."

The only sentence to run concurrently with the first sentence was McJunkin's conviction for burglary.

Mackey also ordered that McJunkin make restitution of $1,834.98 to the victim; $1,731.59 to the Yavapai County Victim's Compensation Board; and $4,916.31 to the victim's health care provider.

Following the sentencing proceeding, the victim told reporters that she thought the sentences were appropriate. "He still insists he didn't do it," she said. "He didn't even try to disguise himself."

Polk felt that she got essentially what she asked the judge for. "I think it was absolutely a just and fair sentence," she said. "It serves to take one extremely dangerous man off the streets."

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